A Sheffield police officer has admitted possessing 1,400 indecent images of children and abusing his position to send thousands of inappropriate texts to crime victims.
Lee Lucas, aged 39, of Prince of Wales Road, Manor, pleaded guilty to charges of eight counts of making indecent images of children and one of misconduct in the public office.
Lucas who was based in Rotherham, has been with the force since July 2010, was today branded a ‘disgrace’ by Deputy Chief Constable Andy Holt.
The offences were uncovered following an internal investigation by the force’s professional standards department that was launched in October 2013.
It was revealed today that two other officers have been sacked for having ‘inappropriate contact’ with vulnerable members of the public through the internal investigation, which was called Operation Pigeon.
In Lucas’ case, the investigation identified excessive and unexplained contact between him and eight women during 2013.
The women were vulnerable members of the public who had contacted the police in relation to various incidents including harassment, domestic abuse and other crime.
Lucas met them when he was deployed to incidents involving the women.
The investigation revealed that he maintained contact with the complainants, sharing thousands of text messages with them and also visiting some of them at their homes.
Investigators found that many of the text messages sent by Lucas had been inappropriate, suggestive and flirtatious.
In December 2013, officers searched Lucas’ home and seized his police phone, his personal mobile phone, and also his computer hard drive. When police examined his computer, around 1,400 indecent images of children were discovered.
Deputy Chief Contestable Andy Holt said: “Lee Lucas is quite simply a disgrace and his actions will disgust all members of the force.
“South Yorkshire Police deal robustly with these offences and it is worthy of note that his actions were uncovered in an internal inquiry and this has been pursued vigorously through to a criminal prosecution.
“We recognise the bravery of the victims who had the courage to testify against him.”
Lucas was suspended from his duties on 17 December 2013. He remains on suspension and will appear before the Chief Constable for a special case hearing, where his future with the force will be determined.
Lucas will be sentenced on 21 December, 2015 at Sheffield Crown Court.
Operation Pigeon, which was supervised by the Independent Police Complaints Commission, was established by South Yorkshire Police following concerns raised nationally about officers abusing their positions to contact vulnerable people.